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CultureGrrl’s First Annual Art Basel Miami Sour Grapes Soufflé

Where are all my faithful CultureGrrl readers? My numbers are down! You mean that all you Miami art browsers are not periodically firing up your web browsers?
For those of you who, like me, are mere cyber-travelers to Art Basel Miami, here are a few links to help you remember why you didn’t really want to go there anyway:
Official Art Basel Miami website, which grandly proclaims itself to be “the most important art show on the American continent and a cultural and social highlight of the Americas.” Hubris and humbug!
Bloomberg’s Linda Yablonsky: “‘What happened to photography is now happening to painting,’ said Jean-Pierre Lehmann, a Swiss collector and financier based in New York. ‘Everything is starting to look the same.’”
Bloomberg’s Lindsay Pollock (I guess Bloomberg regards this event as too momentous to be covered by just one reporter): “‘As a business experience, fairs are great,’ said [Arne] Glimcher [of PaceWildenstein galleries]. ‘As an aesthetic experience, it’s impoverished.’”
Yesterday’s lead headline from the Art Newspaper’s special daily Miami edition: “Dealers furious at hotel price hikes.” (Today’s edition is also clickable at the above link.)
The Debutante’s Ball by Meredith Kahn Rollins in last Sunday’s NY Times “Arts & Leisure” section: “What, ultimately, does an artist get out of Miami Basel? ‘They go because they’re curious and it’s a big party and it’s fun,’ Marianne Boesky said. ‘But I think that art fairs can be very off-putting for an artist, because their work isn’t contextualized in any kind of thoughtful manner. It’s just crammed into these booths. So they go and have fun, and then they come back and they’re depressed.’ Richard Flood, the chief curator of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, is also skeptical. ‘Just to be down there as a social trinket doesn’t make a lot of sense. The chance for real dialogue is pretty rare.’”
Miami Herald’s guide to Art Basel, providing helpful advice on how to get into the best parties: “It’s never a bad idea to be nice to wait staff (especially if you don’t like random saliva droplets in your food). But around Art Basel time, it’s crucial. Find out where they enter the premises. Carry 20s to slip into various palms.”
I’m out of my 20s, and the only part of me that’s flying this week is my cholesterol. So instead of going to South Beach, I’m going on the South Beach diet!
(For an antidote to all this trendiness, see Calvin Tomkins‘ profile, in the Dec. 11 New Yorker, of Jasper Johns, whom Tomkins somewhat surprisingly asserts “has managed…to avoid becoming an art star.” No link to this yet on the magazine’s website.)
COMING TOMORROW: More Miami sour grapes (which, I am told, are great for reducing cholesterol!)

an ArtsJournal blog